Market News

ATMs vandalised as protests over scarcity of naira spread to Ogun - PREMIUM TIMES

FEBRUARY 07, 2023

While the protests were ongoing in Obantoko, Asero and its environs, banks were shutting down in Oke-Ilewo, Abeokuta to avoid being caught in mayhem.

By Olasunkanmi Akinlotan

Protesters on Tuesday vandalised automated teller machines in a bank premises in Abeokuta as demonstrations over the scarcity of the new naira notes and Premium Motor Spirit, commonly called petrol, reached Ogun State.

The redesigned three highest denominations of the new banknotes entered into circulation on 15 December, and were scheduled to have replaced the old designs by 31 January as legal tender.

The change, according to central bank governor Godwin Emefiele was introduced to reduce cash in circulation, and tackle currency counterfeiting and terrorism financing among other vices in the country.

However, Mr Emefiele later announced the extension of the deadline by 10 days, saying the extension had been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Protests had broken out in parts of Ibadan in Oyo State last week over scarcity of the new notes, leading to an attack on the office of the governor.

On Monday, the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, who had called for a further extension of the deadline, announced an indefinite postponement of his campaign rally scheduled for Tuesday in Ibadan, citing public discontent from the crisis.

Protests in Abeokuta

As news of the protest in Obantoko, Asero and its environs spread in Abeokuta, bank workers were seen rushing home to avoid being targetted by the protesters.

Traders abruptly closed their shops as the protesters made bonfires on roads in Sapon and Adatan areas.

Some protesters forced their way into the premises of the First Bank branch in Lafenwa where they destroyed the Automobile Teller Machines.

The police spokesperson in the state, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said the police were monitoring the situation.

“We are monitoring the situation and we have warned them to ensure that properties are not destroyed because we have noticed that people who do not even have money in their accounts are the ones leading the riot, so if anybody destroys any property, the person will be decisively dealt with,” he said.

On Monday, Governor Dapo Abiodun met with the bankers forum in the state to chart a way out of the hardship caused by the naira shortage.


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